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11 September 2008 Semiconductor nanowire photovoltaics
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The use of semiconductor nanowires for photovoltaic applications is advantageous for several reasons: 1) it permits interpenetrating networks of materials for semiconductor heterojunctions at the nanoscale, allowing efficient carrier extraction following light absorption, 2) long absorption paths are possible while maintaining short distances for carrier collection, even in imperfect materials, 3) single crystal materials can be grown in relatively thin films with little material, 4) strong light trapping is possible due to the geometry of the nanowires, and 5) manipulation of materials properties is possible by varying the size of the nanostructures. These advantages must be traded off against the difficulties of fabricating devices (particularly planarization of structures), issues with recombination centers at interfaces, and the requirement of making ohmic contacts with relatively low temperature processes. The optical and electronic properties of semiconductor nanowires, nanowire arrays, and heterojunction interfaces are discussed. Recent results for photovoltaic cells based on semiconductor nanorods and nanowires are summarized, and opportunities for improvement of device characteristics are presented.
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Gary Goncher and Raj Solanki "Semiconductor nanowire photovoltaics", Proc. SPIE 7047, Nanoscale Photonic and Cell Technologies for Photovoltaics, 70470L (11 September 2008);

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